Sunday, my back needed a rest after lifting a little more armor than I should have yesterday. I will probably take an additional holiday tomorrow to help recover. Church was nice, we have moved to a new building thanks to some Air Force connections.
One soldier told about his convoy trip up from Kuwait and all the kids about 5 yrs of age that would come out and wave and make the sign also asking for food. One boy came out to the wire and pointed to an apple beside the road as his sister stood almost crying. He was very sad he could not stop to help. The children around here, according to a local interpreter, have no toys. They will gather up old ordinance (explosives, bullets, etc) and bring it to a dump hole by the wire (barbed-wire fence) in hopes just to receive a bottle of water in return.
Now I am more curious to know what happened to Operation Crayon, which was displaced from the building across the street from us by the new recruits. But I have a feeling that the young generation of Iraqis will remember the cheerfulness, kindness, and generosity of the American Soldier. Perhaps in 20 years, when this generation of Iraqi kids comes of age, it will truly be a new age in Iraq. I know it happened in Germany.
Sometimes I used to take an armored vehicle for a test drive out by the wire and the children will run along side and wave. They are living in the ruins next to the base. The funniest thing is you will see mis-matched colored cars, if any, laundry hanging out between blown-apart walls, and beautiful new satellite dishes. I know I mentioned this before, but it is remarkable, even to be said twice.
Finally, here is a new poem from my dear friend Maria to the troops:
‘Twas the night before New Years, and all through this nation
Kids were playing with toys and their brand new play stations
When half a world away a war is being fought
To give others a gift that cannot be bought
Soldiers are dressed from their head to their boots
In armor and camouflage – not business suits
You see, they are fighting to give others peace
And until that is accomplished, they will not cease
They leave behind loved ones; children, husbands and wives
To sacrifice their life so Freedom will strive
So, this New Years Eve, let us all pray
That those in Iraq, safely will stay
If we can’t be over there fighting on that land
Get on your knees and pray for His guiding hand
For Freedom and Peace is truly God’s way
And they are a step closer each and every day
God bless you all, who are on foreign soil
May He be with you as each day you toil
You’ve helped me realize more than ever
We are Americans, because we stick together
May this upcoming year bring much success
For those in Iraq, may there be happiness
You are truly doing what is right …
Peace to you all, sleep well and goodnite.
-Maria V. Cragun, 2005